The world jumped with joy when top biotechnology firms unveiled their Coronavirus vaccines. A new ray of hope had come after a gloomy year that took thousands of lives. The pandemic had caused pain and suffering to millions but the future may not be so with the arrival of vaccines. Several vaccines including those made by Pfizer-BioNtech, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca-Oxford University have already been approved by W.H.O. and several others are in the pipeline for approval.
Most nations are only vaccinating healthcare workers and the elderly for now but the coverage might soon increase as vaccine production grows. Some countries like UAE, the US, and Israel have already started vaccinating the general population.
As of March 15, Chile leads the world in administering COVID-19 vaccine doses per 100 people in the total population. The country is giving a vaccine dose to about 1.46% of its population per day. Israel and United States followed closely with a 1% and 0.76% vaccination rate.
While Chile is leading in administering doses, Israel has already ‘vaccinated’ 45%-50% of its total population.
Note: This vaccination rate is seven day rolling average per 100 people in the total population.
The United States was the first country to approve the Pfizer Coronavirus vaccine. It has also approved the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and Johnson & Johnson Coronavirus vaccine. US has administered more than 107 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. At its current rate, the country would take 5 months to cover 75% population with a two-dose vaccine.
World’s biggest democracy, India began its COVID-19 vaccination drive on January 16 and has administered more than 27.5 million vaccine doses since. At its current rate, India would take over 2 years to vaccinate 75% of its population.
GO BACK IN TIME: What We Knew About COVID-19 in March 2020
Hundreds of fake vaccine shots were seized and 3 people were arrested in South Africa in the first week of March. The accused had started supplying fake masks and other essential products when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. As vaccines came into production they moved their focus to the hottest commodity. A similar bust was made in China where authorities seized over 300,000 counterfeit vaccine shots.
Such incidents are depleting the trust of people in vaccines and many of them are moving away from getting vaccinated. During mid-March when some people in Europe faced adverse reactions after vaccination, rumors surrounding fake vaccines were the first to spread. It was later confirmed that the vaccines were original. The incident involved the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and the concerned batch was taken off the shelves.
Several European and Asian countries have temporarily stopped the use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University Coronavirus vaccine after severe side effects were reported in some recipients. Some countries have also banned a specific batch of vaccine shots. More countries and international health bodies are investigating the incident that could damage vaccine trust in the long run. The said is estimated to have a density of over a million doses. If found faulty, this could pose serious threats to vaccine efforts of several countries.
According to European Medicine Agency (EMA), the same batch was distributed among 17 European nations.
AstraZeneca vaccine has been granted approval in more than 50 countries including India and UK. It is still awaiting approval in the United States.
Whether to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or not is a person’s personal choice. Though, doctors and immunologists suggest a person should get vaccinated to stay clear of the infection. People with commodities and other ailments must consult with their doctor before getting the vaccine.